Wage and hour compliance is a complex and on-going challenge for public sector organizations. Many government agencies and municipalities have struggled to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) since the mid 1980s, when modifications to the law made most government organizations accountable to the act. And, it isn’t getting any easier.
With complex wage and hour laws constantly in flux, municipalities can expect an increased focus on enforcement. In fiscal year 2014, more than 43 percent of the Wage and Hour Division’s investigations were agency initiated, up from 35 percent just five years prior. Of course, with increased enforcement, comes increased risk of costly violations. In fiscal year 2014, the Division found more than $240 million in back wages for more than 270,000 workers whose employers improperly denied them the pay that they had earned. (Department of Labor, Working for a Fair Day’s Pay)
Every state and local government organization is at risk of labor compliance violations.
Wage and hour compliance starts with being able to answer the following questions:
- How are frontline supervisors using information to make daily decisions?
- Do you know which employees qualify for overtime? What is the salary range?
- Do you typically require impacted employees to work over 40 hours a week? Are you able to report on their historical hours to understand the potential cost and impact?
- How will you start to track their time so you know when to pay them overtime?
- How will you handle an audit?
- Is your data easily accessible?
- How are you handling unapproved overtime practices? Are you paying earned overtime correctly?
- Are you tracking meal and rest breaks in accordance with regulations?
Wage and hour compliance is a continual effort. An employer’s ability to answer these questions today does not mean that the agency will be in compliance next month or even tomorrow. Labor compliance must be well managed, and wage and hour policies must be created and enforced to ensure continual compliance.
Author: Tracy Coleman, Sales Executive – Kronos for Public Sector